Oldster's View

Fight Against Maturity

What’s a Soapbox?


On a recent Saturday afternoon, a group of soapbox racers well past childhood gathered on a steep hill in Brooklyn. With a push and a prayer, they piloted their homemade carts – a wooden cabinet on wheels, a punked-out baby stroller, even a NordicTrack – down the street in head-to-head heats.

The Paping Soapbox Derby, now in its fourth year, is an extreme, strictly grown-up version of the kids’ cart sport. Unlike the nearly 200 traditional derby races held around the country last year, the Paping Derby occurs without benefit of city permits or the sanction of All-American Soap Box Derby, an Ohio-based group that oversees soapbox racing. And in carts built with little engineering know-how, the drivers in the most recent event careened down the hill, colliding with parked cars, curbs and each other.

Organizer John Mejias, 33, an art teacher from East Greenwich Village, was nonchalant about the frequent accidents. “It’s a steep hill and it’s just junk, so these things happen,” he said.

Indeed. Jamison Brosseau, 29, a painter from Bushwick who rode a wooden plank on wheels, bumped his opponent mid-hill, jumped a curb, flew past a parking sign and crashed into a wall. It was his last race of the day.


July 30, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. This article in no way represents what the paping soapbox derby is all about. Please understand that it is a very slanted view. Our derby is about much more than crashes. We take a lot of pride and care in what we do. Shame on the media. –john mejias

    Comment by john | August 2, 2006

  2. Thanks for clearing that up, John. All I had was the article. I hope others will comment on this too.

    Comment by oldstersview | August 2, 2006

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